Movie Review: The Woman in Black

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“The Woman in Black” marks Daniel Radcliffe’s first feature role since bidding farewell to Harry Potter and the magical world of Hogwarts last summer. While Radcliffe completely embodies his character in “The Woman in Black,” the plot seems a bit light on details and some of the scares provoke giggles instead of sheer terror.

Based on Susan Hill’s 1983 novel of the same name, the film follows Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a young lawyer who lost his wife four years ago when she died in childbirth. Kipps travels to a remote village to the Eel Marsh House, leaving his four-year old son back in London, to attend to the mounds of paperwork left behind by the house’s recently deceased owner.

Upon his first visit to the Eel Marsh House, which sits on a secluded island that is connected to the town by only one road that is taken over by the tide late in the evening, Kipps sees the woman in black.

After several children die in freak accidents and countless warnings from the townspeople to never return to the house, Kipps finally learns that when someone sees the woman in black, a child dies.

Thus, the premise of the entire plot is put into place. Simple and not very complex, the plot leaves one questioning why the woman in black continues to exist. What can be done to destroy her?

While the film seems to lack a true climax, the use of tension and suspension truly gives it a horror feel at times. I can say that at one point, I literally screamed out loud and had genuine goose bumps. However, the use of comedic relief to ease the mood kills some of the scenes’ timing that should have invoked screams rather than laughs.

From countless close ups of creepy dolls and toy monkeys to the constant creaking of a rocking chair to glimpses of the woman in black herself, Kipps remains way too calm in my opinion.

Like classic horror flicks, he tends to walk toward danger rather than fleeing from it. If something does not quite seem right, he goes to investigate. He sees the woman in black floating outside staring at him and still returns to the house time and time again. Nearly every scene at the house will have you screaming, “Are you crazy? Get out of there while you still can!”

In the end, it is clear to the audience why the woman in black does what she does, but it still leaves the audience dissatisfied on more than one level.

Although suspenseful but not necessarily terrifying, Radcliffe’s performance makes this film worthwhile despite a somewhat corny conclusion.

“The Woman in Black” hits theaters this Friday, Feb. 3.